When we use the term ‘Child Art’ it has three different usages. Any art work done by a child is commonly referred to as ‘Child Art’, the work done by other artists for the eyes of juvenile is also known as ‘Child Art’. Lastly another connotation of child art implies any piece of art that has child as a subject or theme. You are reading about the art work done by children in this article.
First European exhibition of drawings done by children was organized by Robert Ablett in London in 1890. Franz Cizek was the first one to appreciate the art of children that was not influenced by adults. This unskilled visual expression by children was also related to the aesthetics of modernism. Franz Cizek even started the Art classes for children in the age group of pupils 2-14 for 2 hours a week free of charge and without choosing the so-called pupils. Interestingly, Cizek realized that infact he learnt a lot from the children and could not really teach them.
Later Piagetian theory of cognitive psychology marginalized the psychological studies of Children’s art, which became a hot topic of discussion towards the end of 20th Century.
Developmental Psychology having a scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of life has helped us to understand child Art namely Scribbling, Pre-symbolism, symbolism and Realism. It is only in the Symbolism stage, children create a vocabulary of images and they have their own set of symbols. Before this stage the objects always floated in space and now they start finding a base. Cultural influence also starts playing its role at this very developmental stage.
As a child matures the symbols get limited and imagination starts losing the flexibility and it becomes more important for a child to make a thing look real like an object to be drawn. At this time it gets very frustrating for a child and often it is seen that when a child is forced to make a realistic drawing, he starts losing interest and many stop painting at the age of ten and give up almost entirely.
Little ones blessed with sufficient freedom learn to make their own rules of realism and get better with time. These are the children who develop individualistic style.
Art plays an important function as a therapy even in the case of growing children who are subjected to loneliness. Psychologists have found an interesting connection between gender and colour. Boys have been choosing blue, green and browns whereas girls are often going in for red, yellow and lighter shades of blue for their colour palette. According to some psychological studies, drawing tiny feet, reflect insecurity whereas big hands indicate aggression. Absence of arms or hands shown behind the back indicate timidity. It has been studied that the content of a drawing on the left side is usually the past experience or the influence of environment where the right-side subject matter is related to the future and what the child wants to communicate.
Child art should never be placed on a viewer’s table for critical analysis. It only requires appreciation for being unique, original, honest and minus all inhibitions. No wonder good artists after having gone through many phases ultimately start drawing like children – sure, bold and simple.

Goldy Malhotra

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